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A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

Black thumb drive and black thumb drive and black thumb drive? Which Identical looking thumb drive has the file I am looking for? Silly me I saw them on sale and bought them! Now I again have a handful of thumb drives that I have to open each one to find out what it might have on them…. Well, that’s annoying.

thumb drives Yes, I have a lot of black thumb drives!

I had to pass some files over to Ann and need some way to make this little black drive look different from the rest of them and so it won’t get lost with any that she also has.

Sitting here in front of the computer, with a pile of fibre and lots of needles, I wonder…… can you needle felt directly to an attachment point on the drive? These have particularly small attachment spots for a toggle so a ribbon or leather strip won’t fit. But I think I can get a felting needle in there!

I had bought a pink rose and grey batt from Christine which just happens to be sitting here.  What shall I do? What shall I make? I have no clue… No, I don’t think I want a fish. So I grabbed a bit of fibre and started to poke at it, poke, poke, flip, poke, hmmm, no, not a fish. But it is starting to look like it wants to be a mitt. One of those really big winter mitts gripping the end of the thumb drive. Ha! My thumb drive has a thumb attached to it (with the rest of the mitt!)

OOPS, I gave it to Ann before getting a photo of it.

thumb and palmfingers

thanks, Ann!  the top is the thumb holding on to the hole in the drive and the purple is the back of the mitt. it has a big fluffy cuff. I will have to work more on the palm and wrist when I get it back.

Ah, another day of rain, I guess my fleece washing and drying is now getting an extra rinse again. it’s raining too much to even sit out and felt undercover today.

I grabbed some more of the same batt of pinks, rose and grey and started randomly poking at the wool. After a bit I started feeling like footwear, yes that is definitely a short felt boot. I added a bright pink bit of fibre as the sole and started pulling bits of curls and added them along the rim of the boot and extended the backup and attached it to the thumb drive.

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I got distracted working on the computer and looked up to see MORE RAIN…. The fleece gets another rinse.

The weekend was busy with getting Mom groceries and birthday cupcake (chocolate on chocolate with chocolate!) She is 89 this year!  I had a wonderful visit with friends, with social distancing and then on to the birthday party and belated birthday presents for my Niece for her 16th birthday (we gave her a starter selection of fibre, needles and an instruction book. She had never felted before and made a very nice strawberry between getting the book, eating dinner and before dessert!

For the next thumb drive, I really wanted to make a wire sheep. I had some of the combed blue locks sitting close to hand so blue sheep it would be! I divided the single piece of floral wire into loops for legs, tail and left the rest for the head. My tiny scrolling plyers had disappeared gain so Glenn stopped into Dollerama to pick up more. I don’t know what I would do without that store, it has most of my not originally meant for felting supplies. I had to wait on the plyers until he got back from work so I hand twisted the legs and used the tail loop at the attachment to the thumb drive. I will tighten that up and make hoof loops later.  I decided to make a nice round little body but leave the legs and neck wire. The head I added ears and a couple of tight curls. I think she turned out quite well.

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The attachment is easier to see with the wire rather than with the boot or mitt felting.

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Since the labelling of the boot’s drive as a Boot drive gives it other meanings in computer vocabulary I will call this the pink slipper drive, and the other will be the blue sheep drive.

That was a fun little project and has successfully made the on sale black identical thumb drives now look different! Have fun and keep felting (but it may be best not to do wet felting with this one!)

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Mer-pet One gets her skin

Mer-pet One gets her skin

(Sorry I’m running late today! and have tried my best with the final spellchecking. my regular spellchecker is doing overtime at the post office, so you too can receive all your online orders. It’s as busy as x mass at the moment!)

We are going to skip ahead a week, missing the post about Mer-Pet two I had already written and continued on with Sharkette.

So back to the Shark.

This week seems to have flown past too. I remember days being longer and I use to accomplish so much more in them. I did get more garden work done and have a couple of shots that may inspire 2D felting or maybe a 3D bouquet?

      1-8 bits of colour to inspire you, from the front back and side garden.

9 9 the back patio with new bird feeders

I did a bit more work on my back patio putting out a hummingbird feeding (we are between the honeysuckle and trumpet vine booms) and 2 little wire bird feeders. They are not attracting the type of bird I was hoping for. I have seen a smaller long-tailed striped orange wingless “Bird” cleaning up underneath the feeder. While above two Rubenesque wingless long-tailed hairy “birds” clung to the feeder and generally made a mess. One was all black (and not nearly as nice as the Beautiful black mother crow and young crow that have been around the last 2 weeks). The second was about the same size as the black one but gray. I will try again to get a picture of these horrible wingless seed-steeling “birds” and hope the sparrows and chickadees will return. Oh, the black covered thing that is pretending to be a birdbath is the second larger blacksmith forge.  (I have odd porch decorations.)

Moving back to the side yard I brought out the fleece bucket I was using as a project bucket for the shark. I had my photo reference, hand carders, fibre, foam pad, assorted needles and of course, Sharkette.

10-12 photo reference, fibre and implements for stabbing! (I think Sharkett looks nervous)

I was treating shark both like a pastel in that, I had applied a base under-colour and like a watercolour, by hand mixing and using small thin washes of colour building towards the finished tones.

13-16 shark swims in a sea of fibre

Another brake for gardening, the two plant pots on the right have catnip, extremely potent catnip. Is anyone dropping by to pick up some catnip? (There is more in the back and side yard)  Hiding behind the catnip in the tall grey pot is a dahlia, which I hope will flower.

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Summer is confused this year I have snow peas starting with the first raspberry!!

18-19 the snow peas grew about four feet tall and then started to flower

Now that I have nibbled on snow peas (and left Glenn the raspberries), it’s time to get back to felting

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While I was working on her a fed-X delivery truck pulled up the end of my driveway! They do that sometimes when dropping stuff off for my neighbours. No this time it was actually for here! Yes, this was the order I placed earlier in the week for Ann and I.   We plan to unwrap the likely explosive package this week and will let your know what we find within!!

24 24 I think there is a role of tape on that package!

Shark and I both were consciences and had our masks on! Hers does not fit well since it only covered part of her gills. Effective masks cover your entire breathing equipment, Mouth and Gills!

25 25 Safety first!!

I laid in the darker edge layers (I mixed the 2 darker grays with a tiny bit of the intense green) rather than use black which could have been too strong. Over that, I layered blends of the middle gray with green and blue, then fading into mid and light grays with hints of the blue and green tones. (Just think washes of thin wisps of colour to help optically blend and give the mottled effect of light seen through the water onto shark-skin.

 

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My outdoor studio was nicely shaded but it was getting hot and I needed a drink brake for a caffeinated green beverage (Mountain Dew). Restarting my audiobook, I got back work.

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I tried to get a shot to show you just how thin a layer of colour I was adding at a time. (the white needle is a new one I just got off Etsy from “thanks for mutton”. It’s a 42 crown which is the finest needle I’ve tried and was impressed. It’s not quick but it gave a cleaner surface than my coarser core wool needles.)

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The pen tool is holding 40’s and I have been working at a close to parallel angle for the outer coat.

I also wanted to show you her mouth. I saw paper clay teeth on line that were spectacular but have not tried them (yet, I may still go back and see if I can add tinny scary teeth)

33 33 toothless but likely still lethal!

She is a mighty shark able to leap foam needle holding barricades by herself! (look no hands)

     34-38 sharkette showing off with her new skin!

I will try and get a shot of her not in the shade. I should have brought better lighting to her photoshoot!!

So next we will go back in time and look at Mer-pet number 2 unless that possibly exploding package has caught your curiosity? Did you see how well taped up that mysterious object was? What could it be??

3939 Mer-pet 2 revealed or strange package investigation?

Making a raven (and the mistakes in the process)

Making a raven (and the mistakes in the process)

Around December of last year, I was asked by a friend and customer to make a life size sculpture of a raven. I’d never done one before, so it was an exciting challenge to accept.

My husband, a professional painter and sculptor, helped me create a template. I then created the core with needle felting foam rectangles, which I cut and glued to size. I then covered the foam with wool.

Feathers were another challenge for me, I researched quite a bit online to see how other people were making them and tried a technique whereby you add wool top to fusible interfacing, add a wire in the middle and steam iron everything together, but the interfacing was just too white and showed through. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of these, they would have looked very nice in a differently coloured bird. This part stumped me and took ages to resolve.

I left the feathers conundrum to simmer in the back of my head and moved to raven feet. I made mine out of wire that I covered with pipe cleaners and then wool.

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Although the feet looked nice enough, they were not too lifelike. As it turns out, the wire was also not too sturdy for something this big, since it became clear it was too soft to hold the raven’s body at the angle I wanted. The poor thing stood too much like a duck!

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It became clear I needed to replace the feet, so I did some surgery: I cut the original wire out, then added a sturdier one and repaired the cut site with more wool and felting. I had an idea to use polymer clay on the feet at first because I thought it would look more lifelike but it was an absolute fail: clay, once hardened, has obviously no yield and therefore can’t be posed, which can be a problem depending on the surface you’re placing your sculpted animal on. Back to wool it was.

Enter a magic technique I had never tried before: wax.
Adding wax to wool makes it look less like fibre and more like a proper part of animal anatomy. See below:

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You can see by one of the pictures above that I got the feathers to work eventually. After much musing I cut felt sheets to size and put the sewing machine to work to add the central stem you normally see in real feathers. Some of them still had wire in them for structure.

Because I really love how the feet looked after adding the wax, I couldn’t wait to play with this new-to-me material on another part of the corvid: the eyelids.

Here’s an image of my raven without eyelids. The poor thing looks too startled and weird to be real.

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Now behold, with eyelids!

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What a difference. I wonder how I made it without using wax on sculptures this long.

After making more longer feathers for the tail, my corvid was ready to be unveiled. Photographing black wool is notoriously difficult so I apologise for not having more professional-looking pictures to show, but I believe these show you the end result well enough.

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This chap has been named Huginn (old Norwegian for “thought”) after one of Odin’s ravens. I think it suits him.

I felt sorry to send Huginn to his forever home. After spending so much time (5 months!) working on him on and off, I really built a connection with this character. I’m glad he’s receiving much love and will even have a custom-built dome to keep him protected against the elements…

Let me know what you think of him in the comments, and if you’ve any questions about the making process I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading.

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